A Novel

Book - 2016
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When Arden Arrowood was four years old, her two-year-old twin sisters were stolen from the front yard of their hometown of Keokuk, Iowa, on the Mississippi River while Arden watched. Twenty years later, she returns home to confront the darkest part of her past. As the mystery unravels, the novel explores the reliability of memory, the stories we tell ourselves, and the power of love.
Published: New York, NY :, Spiegel & Grau,, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780812996395
Branch Call Number: F MACH
Characteristics: 274 pages ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

DBRL_ANNEG Sep 12, 2016

Author Laura McHugh does a great job creating the dark, foreboding atmosphere that sets the tone for her stories. She effortlessly illustrates the run-down Midwest river town setting of this book. The story twists and turns and will grab readers and not let go until the long-lived mystery finall... Read More »

DBRL_LaurenW Jul 28, 2016

McHugh is masterful when it comes to vividly rendering place and setting, as well as the psychology of her main characters. This novel is moody, atmospheric and melancholy with a delicious undercurrent of suspense.

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Jul 29, 2020

I was disappointed in the ending of this book. It’s a long read, and to get to the end and find the narrative leading up to that point didn’t lend to what happened, was disappointing.

I had searched for a “horror” book. I wouldn’t categorize this as such. I’d consider it more of a fictional memoir.

Jan 26, 2020

As a contemporary mystery/thriller, I would put this book in the three-star range. The central mystery is interesting and serviceable, and the author does a good job of keeping the plot moving forward, but never in too-straight a line. What earns this book a fourth star from me are its sympathetic yet disheartening picture of small-town Midwest decay, and its contemplation of memory and nostalgia as forces that subtly shape our realities.

As a person who spent part of her childhood in small Midwestern towns during the time of the main character Arden's childhood, I was immediately sympathetic to both her remembrances of times past, and the stark realities facing those same towns today. The author provides many relatable, authentic details that build a credible setting, making the place a silent but impactful character in the story.

I also enjoyed the author's exploration of the credibility of memory, and the way nostalgia shapes and shades our remembrances. I never had a life-changing trauma like the disappearance of a loved one, but I did experience a relatively placid early childhood followed by a rootless, neglected older childhood at the hands of a depressed and disconnected mother and con-man father, so I could deeply relate to the story. I found myself questioning my own recollections of my early childhood, and realizing that the dysfunction of my family started much earlier than I had realized. I think that is the ultimate tribute to a book- if it can resonate so deeply with your own lived experiences that it offers you a new perspective, it has succeeded as a work of art.

Oct 24, 2019

This is quite well written, and I liked it at first, but to me the story itself didn't hold up. After a while it seemed to take on the personality of a made-for-TV movie, far-fetched in some ways but aimed at entertaining an audience. I skimmed the last part.

Nov 05, 2018

This was a great book! I loved the mystery of it. I thought Arden was very relatable in the way she spoke and acted towards herself and others. I liked that this kept me guessing until the end. I couldn't wait to get more of the story each time I was forced to put the book down or hit pause. I read and listened to this book. I think overall, I preferred the audio version. There was something about hearing this told as a story instead of reading it that gave it something extra. I enjoyed reading it but once I started listening to it, I really got into it. I'm very exited to read another book by this author. She is very talented. There were details in the book that I thought were nice touches and she really seemed to have the ability to give clues without giving things away.

ArapahoeLauren Jul 23, 2018

I enjoy a good mystery, especially if I can't figure it out. Arden, the main character, "witnesses" her toddler twin sisters being kidnapped when Arden is just a young girl herself... Or did she? You'll enjoy this page-turner - and I definitely didn't see the ending coming!

May 20, 2018

Not a book I can recommend. A woman inherits her childhood home that she hasn't been near for the last twenty years. This is the home where her twin sisters disappeared from when she was four years old & they were two. This woman has false memories of that day. The memories are repetitive & the whole angst of the situation gets old fast. Big disappointment.

Jan 25, 2017

This is indeed a gothic mystery that felt like "Sharp Objects" by Flynn. After reviewing the details about the "Sharp Objects" I see many similarities. Both Arden and Camille are from dysfunctional families and have physical scars from their past. Both are set in old river towns. Both are about solving past crimes involving young girls. No wonder!

I did like "Arrowood" better. Perhaps partly because I am an Iowa girl and loved reading a book set in my home state. Arden is a sympathetic character and you want her to be successful in her quest for truth. The journey she goes on has its own missteps and detours, but she does come to a place in the end where she can move forward and that is a victory.

Jan 12, 2017

Really enjoyed this psychological thriller.

Sep 21, 2016

A young woman inherits her family home called Arrowood in Keokuk, Iowa, scene of a family tragedy when her toddler twin sisters were abducted and who remain missing. She had lived a charmed life those first eight years, now a graduate student her return to her home town will seek to answer the ‘can you go home again’ question?

You’ll get a nice portrayal of life in a small Mississippi River town; great sketches of family and friends touched by the tragedy, but a bit for me, unbelievable, though eerie, ending.

DBRL_ANNEG Sep 12, 2016

Author Laura McHugh does a great job creating the dark, foreboding atmosphere that sets the tone for her stories. She effortlessly illustrates the run-down Midwest river town setting of this book. The story twists and turns and will grab readers and not let go until the long-lived mystery finally is resolved.

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